BALTIMORE – It was a very successful Fall for Liberty Union- Thurston students. It took more than 30 minutes Monday night for school board members to recognize student achievements.
First up was the Liberty Union High School Marching Band. Superintendent Paul Mathews said the band went to four competitions and received the superior rating at all four. A competition at Dayton’s Welcome Stadium was particularly memorable he said. “Straight one’s across the board,” Mathews added. “It was a spectacular performance.”
Both the boys varsity and junior varsity golf teams were Mid-State League champions for the second year in a row. Junior Landon Hutchison was named “MSL Player of the Year.” He won the pre-season and postseason tournaments and garnered the league’s low average for the season.
Varsity golf coach Jim Reed is retiring after 30 years. Mathews read a letter from Reed, noting that he had been on the athletic staff for 45 years. Reed also coached baseball for 21 years and basketball for 20. He estimates that he coached for 106 athletic seasons at Liberty Union. “It is an unbelieveable accomplishment.” Mathews said. Reed had another engagement and was unable to accept a plaque thanking him for his 30 years with the golf team.
The junior varsity football was honored for being MSL champions as was the junior high boys cross country team.
The varsity girls cross country team were MSL champions and runners-up at the district tournament. The varsity boys cross country team also won the MSL and district, were regional tournament runner-ups and finished ninth in the state tournament for Division III.
Eighth grader Brandon Altiers was named MSL “Junior High Runner of the Year.” Mathews said he simply won every race he ran. Freshman Jeff Hanson qualified individually for the state cross country tournament. He was named first team all MSL. He ran second for Liberty Union.
Senior Drew McCornmick had a banner year, repeating as “MSL Runner of the Year,” qualifying for the state tournament and being named to the first team for both the district and regional tournaments. His academic record coupled with his athletic achievements earned him Academic All- Ohio recognition.
Senior Krista Mathews also earned Academic All Ohio honors. She was named to the first team in the district and regional tournaments. Mathews qualified for the state tournament.
Coach Jon Morris, who coaches both the boys and girls cross country teams, was named “MSL Coach of the Year.”
The students-of-the-month were Matt Thompson and Megan VanAlmsick. Thompson is the son of Tracy and Amy Thompson. He is a senior and has been on the Honor Roll and Student Council for all four years. VanAlmsick is the daughter of Bill and Mary VanAlmsick. The junior has a 4.0 gpa and is a varsity volleyball and softball player.
Charlotte Muesegaes, who teaches integrated technology at the high school, was selected by her fellow teachers as the teacherof the month.
In board business Monday night, architect Joe Schappa said work on the high school renovation project has begun. The first phase on the first floor should be done by the end of February. Plans for the new middle school are undergoing the final check and review. Schappa hopes to set a date for bids later this week. Bids will likely be due early next year. The final estimate is about $700,000 under the budget so some items that were removed to reduce cost are back. “Brick is back on the exterior,” he told board members. “It’s become a much better building.”
Bidding was fierce on the high school renovation job and Schappa expects the same for the middle school. The savings from the bids versus the final estimates have allowed the projects to be upgraded. Even the elementary school will benefit as some of the savings will be used to purchase SmartBoards for every classroom. “The district can get everything it wanted and more,” Schappa said thanks to the bidding climate.
Board members also unanimously took the final step to ask voters to renew for five years the one half percent portion of the district’s 1.75 percent income tax that expires next year. The 1.25 percent balance of the income tax is permanent. The renewal will still only apply to earned income. The renewal will be on the May 4 ballot.
The board will hold its annual reorganization meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 11 in the high school library immediately followed by its regular monthly meeting. A special board meeting has been set for 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23 in the high school library.